There is an alt rock band located in Jersey City and Rahway, New Jersey that emerged quite recently onto the music scene. So recently, in fact, that you can judge its timeframe based on the band’s name and – if you need more proof – the title of the album they just released. y u u g e is comprised of Nick Afflitto, Alex Pergament, and Jerry Ramos, and their debut album Inauguration Day is out now. (See what we mean?)
Admits Pergament of the recording of Inauguration Day, “The album is wholly improvised in the studio. Our idea was to focus on the need for listening and accepting over performing and perfecting, as a response to the pressures of being right, winning, competing. To exercise a capacity for empathy and organic response.”
Beginning with the spoken track “Microscope”, y u u g e has created something that draws you in and makes you examine the world around you, with lines like “we’re not that different” driving the piece forward, and in direct contrast to what the overarching political message is and has been since that storied day. “Squirmy Worm” is immediately notable for its quirky percussion, a quick 45 second track that reminds us of the subject of its title, and also has us questioning what other minute details of the every day we should be paying attention to. “Captain Creepy” features Ariel Guidry, though the vocals are all high pitched, as though they inhaled helium before “talking about sandwiches” and other random things. Its follow-up – “Stinky Pants” – also features the vocal stylings of Ariel Guidry, though this time in a more soulful and fulfilling way. (Though we’re not knocking the laughter we got out of its predecessor.)
“Man Cave” is the first song on the album that begins like an actual rock track, really milking the amp on the electric guitar. Crashing drums ensue, and the band goes full metal with harsh, screaming vocals and a dark tone to the instrumentals. (Because, after all, isn’t that what a man cave is all about? Being as manly and loud as possible?) “Snow Man” is heavily characterized by the horns section, a purely instrumental track – until minute five, when calm and beautiful vocals add a layer of softness to it all – that is simplified to an acoustic guitar and trumpet.
The title track is heavy – even more so than “Man Cave” – literally evoking the gloom and doom feeling we had on that fated day in January of this year.Once again, it is only after minute five that any vocals come in, and they’re angry and loud and all-encompassing in their delivery. (Much like someone else we all know.) But meander on into “The Animals Who Saved You”, and there is a delicacy placed back into the music that makes it feel like a slow jazz type of afternoon. Ninth and final track “Grizzly Bear” begins with the trumpet, then percussion, slowly layering and building with softened, almost inaudible, and honest lyrics over the course of almost eleven whole minutes. During minute nine, everything kind of crashes into this distinct and intense cacophony of sound, and then dissolves again, perfectly rounding out this release.
Inauguration Day is available now.